Parp! Toot!

Sound of man blowing own trumpet. Sound and visuals of POW!!!, the retrospective on live-action comic-book adaptations which I am co-programming with Niall Greig Fulton at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.


12 Responses to “Parp! Toot!”

  1. I adore Losey’s Modesty Blaise, Hodges’ Flash Gordon and Vadim’s Barbarella, but Altman’s Popeye is inert and unfunny and I LOATHE Batman — every single interpolation of him.

  2. Well, we’re only showing the Adam West, which strikes me as the least objectionable.

    Popeye is an odd one — the film it most resembles in Altman’s canon is McCabe and Mrs Miller, but without the invigorating tragic horror element. Sweethaven is another version of the town of Presbyterian Church. I find bits of it very funny but it’s only intermittent, which makes it an awkward watch, especially on first viewing. I’m fascinated to see how it plays with an audience.

    Also showing: Tintin and the Golden Fleece, Baba Yaga, Golgo 13, Sword of Vengeance.

  3. revelator60 Says:

    I’m not interested in the rancid Batman product of today, but I have a soft spot for Burton’s films, which look especially refreshing next to Nolan’s White Elephant-man trilogy. Comic nerds and Nolan fanboys despise Burton’s efforts for being campy (i.e., having a sense of humor), operatic (i.e., having visual imagination) and departing from the comics (heresy!), and all of that accounts for my enjoyment. The films also date from the era when Burton was still a good film director, rather than a brand-name.
    Burton aside, the best incarnation of Batman in any medium was the animated series that ran from 1992-1999.

  4. That is a very fun trailer.

  5. Thanks! WIsh I could claim any credit for it. I love the way the batcopter matches up with the EIFF logo.

    I couldn’t get on with Batman Returns. It’s clearly more Burtonesque and has more good bits than the first film. But the shocking inefficiency of the script, the neglect of motivation in favour of one-line sound-bites, and the nonentity status of the main character really put me off.

  6. revelator60 Says:

    The script for Batman Returns was definitely a haphazard mess, and it doesn’t have the excuse of a writers’ strike for its defects, unlike the first film. But I think Batman himself isn’t as marginal as many believe–he enjoys a believable romance with Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and the ballroom scene of them discovering each others secret identities is an affecting twist on the genre’s cliches. The relationship also further develops the dual identity/twinned freaks theme of the first film.

  7. I think he gets one scene in costume in the first 45 minutes of the film. Admittedly, he’s at his worst in costume (they managed to make the limber Keaton stiff-necked!) but that points to a lack of interest in making a Batman movie. Which I can understand, but then why do it?

  8. DBenson Says:

    Modesty Blaise the comic strip is, surprisingly, far smarter and more sophisticated than the movie. Pulp, but of a superior grade. Modesty herself is stylish and deadly serious, guided by unexpectedly humane principles. The movie’s Modesty is a sexy, I-so-naughty jewel thief; a Bond girl promoted to lead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but she’s no more Modesty than Downey Jr. is Sherlock Holmes. The movie itself is one more smug 007 spoof, showing minimal familiarity with or interest in the source material. This is a pity because a closer adaptation would have been a cracking good flick.

    The 60s Batman (movie and TV show) is actually firmly rooted in the stolid comic book version of the late 50s and early 60s, where Batman was all about clues (“No real archeologist would make that mistake!”) and plot tricks (impossible escapes a specialty) between wisecracking fistfights. I don’t remember any outrage over the camp angle (the show had it both ways by embracing and mocking pop art at the same time), but as a kid I resented when it slipped from funny adventure to outright sitcom. Back then we didn’t expect much Hollywood respect for comic book heroes. Animated incarnations were awful and live action versions were hobbled by budget and effects limitations: Batman was lavish compared to the 50s Superman, while Hulk and Wonder Woman were stuck in otherwise generic detective shows.

    Today Modesty Blaise the movie is notable mainly as an obvious inspiration for Austin Powers, making the latter a spoof of a spoof. Meanwhile, the endurance of the 60s Batman represents mock nostalgia for previous generation’s mock nostalgia.

  9. I basicall agree. Modesty had elegant artwork and took itself seriously. The best responses to Bond were those which went a purposeful other direction, whether into the misery of The Spy who Came in from the Cold or the quirky dourness of The Ipcress File. Those who tried to out-spoof Bond haven’t aged well.

    Though I don’t really believe in the concept of films dating. When you read the reviews, you can see that plenty of smart people knew Our Man Flint and The Ambushers were not good movies.

  10. I strongly disagree. Losey’s Modesty Blaise is the greatest work of serious camp since Sternberg’s The Devil is a Woman

  11. Richard Lester: “The last person anyone would use the word ‘zany’ about was Joseph Losey.” But he doesn’t like Boom! either.

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